This is Diversity & Inclusion at Toyota Boshoku

Diversity & Inclusion Group has been launched and activities are already underway

Have you heard of the term “Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)”? Diversity refers to a state in which people of different genders, ages, nationalities, religions, values, etc. come together. We are seeing and hearing more and more about it in various aspects of our daily lives.
What about “inclusion”? Some of you may be hearing this for the first time. It is a state of affairs in which a diversity of human resources are brought together, where their differing backgrounds are accepted, and their respective experiences, abilities, and ways of thinking are mutually respected.
In fact, D&I is becoming more and more important to the company every year. This is not only in response to the decrease in the working population, the diversification of work styles, and the globalization of companies, but also because people with different backgrounds and experiences are said to generate broader and more creative ideas when they draw on their abilities and strengths.

Toyota Boshoku’s HR Strategy Division has an organization called the Diversity & Inclusion Group. The Group’s mission is to “foster a corporate culture in which everyone can maximize their abilities and in which diverse values and opinions are accepted.” Sebastien Dussaux, Diversity & Inclusion Group Manager, describes the objectives and benefits of our D&I initiatives, as follows.

Diversity & Inclusion Group Manager Sebastien Dussaux
Diversity & Inclusion Group Manager
Sebastien Dussaux

Our company members have a variety of backgrounds, and we have a culture of accepting and respecting their individual values. Our workplace is one in which people can freely express their ideas and opinions.
However, we understand some members might be reluctant to speak out and may feel isolated, in which case it is very difficult for us to grasp their opinions and problems. Instead of waiting for them to approach us, we as a company proactively engage with them through the creation of employee groups and aim to include their opinions increasingly into our policies and activities. This initiative should prove to be a treasure trove of new and diverse ideas.
All company members can feel a sense of fulfillment in their work, while maximizing their own experiences and strengths.
Gathering together a diversity of human resources and having even more perspectives creates new value and enhances the company’s competitiveness.

Studies have also shown that companies that engage in D&I are 1.8 times more likely to respond to change, 1.7 times more likely to become innovation leaders in their industries, and are also more likely to generate greater profit through innovation than companies that do not engage in D&I.
For the Toyota Boshoku group, which aims to be an Interior Space Creator, leading the creation of new value for mobility spaces, the promotion of D&I by all company members is the cornerstone of innovation.

Diversity of human resources + open workplace leads to innovation

There are two points in our promotion of D&I.
The first is to “secure diverse human resources.” Up until now, the focus has tended to be on diversity as perceived by external characteristics, such as whether individuals are women, young people, people with disabilities, seniors, or non-Japanese. However, our aim is to create a situation in which people with a variety of values and experiences are drawn together by the appeal of our company. In addition, we would like to emphasize the diversity of ideas that comes from having a diversity of human resources. This is because when we look and think from truly diverse perspectives, such as those unique to women, those unique to people with disabilities, those unique to a particular religion, or those unique to a particular person’s experiences, we are able to discover issues in society and the company that have never previously come to the fore. In this way, we are trying to make the most of the individual perspectives and ideas of our 50,000 company members.
The second point is an “open workplace.” As stated in the TB Way, “we respect the values of other cultures and accept differences, with an open mind and a global perspective.” This means that there is fairness and impartiality, that you can feel safe in voicing your thoughts and feelings, and that you can find your own place and purpose in the world. We are aiming to create an open workplace in which company members can work with enthusiasm and a sense of fulfillment, and where they can demonstrate their abilities and grow.
We believe that in an open workplace with diverse human resources, company members can grow through their interactions with each other and think outside the box, which sparks innovation.

Toyota Boshoku’s approach to innovation creation through D&I

Diversity of human resources + open workplace leads to innovation

Examples of activities implemented by the Diversity & Inclusion Group (partially includes plans)

  • Creation of ENRG (Employee Network Resource Group)
  • Seminars for supervisors and members on childcare leave and returning to work
  • Publication of LGTBQ guidebook for all company members
  • Implementation of an event entitled D&I Week

Let’s now introduce some examples of activities that are being undertaken on a company-wide and global basis.

D&I promotional energy: “ENRG Activity”

Among the many D&I activities is the ENRG Activity, which has been undertaken since fiscal 2023. ENRG is an acronym of Employee, Network, Resource, and Group. This can be said to be the driving energy of D&I. The ENRG is composed of volunteer company members who identify issues and make recommendations to top management aimed at implementing the measures necessary for creating a comfortable workplace environment. Another point of particular emphasis is to provide a forum for recognizing the issues faced by company members who may be in the minority or who may be isolated, where opinions and suggestions can be given. The Diversity & Inclusion Group helps the ENRG to draw up plans and take action.
The ENRG has held lectures by experts, various consultation meetings, and exchange meetings with Toyota Group companies to share opinions on issues and solutions. Through these events, company members connect with each other, deepening communication and generating better awareness and ideas. We also explain our D&I philosophy in detail to new members joining Toyota Boshoku, such as at company orientation and joining ceremonies, thereby further extending the circular chain of activities. Future plans include participating in external D&I events, disseminating information through social networking services, and collaborating with various external organizations.

As of February 2024, there are six working groups promoting ENRG activities, with the following five in Japan:


Name and introduction of each group

working groups

Here we introduce the example of SHINE. SHINE encapsulates the sense that we want each and every one of our company members to shine. In fact, it has been active as the “Kagayaki Working Group” since fiscal 2018, before ENRG activities started, and has been making policy recommendations for balancing work and family life. Since launching activities as SHINE, roundtable meetings have been held with Toyota Boshoku’s female outside director and there have been opinion exchange meetings with management, creating opportunities for the real voices of female managers—who are still a minority in the company—to be heard. Another aim is for SHINE to draw up plans focused on internal events related to ENRG, and to disseminate ENRG activities throughout the company.
Outside Japan, a group on the theme of Gender Equity has been launched at Toyota Boshoku Europe (TBEU). An action plan was created in order to implement a successful Gender Equity Plan according to gender equity guidelines established by various EU countries. As part of the plan, the group arranged a meeting with all TBEU female company members to have an open discussion about the issues they have encountered at work. Specific measures for issues, trainings and additional activities will be planned and implemented to educate and raise awareness about gender equity in TBEU. Future activities are also planned in China and Asia.

Kagayaki Working Group
Company members with different backgrounds gathered at the ENRG event and had a discussion.

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